More than 50 years after the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health, the US has yet to end hunger and faces an urgent nutrition-related health crisis—the increasing prevalence of diet-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and certain cancers. The consequences of food insecurity and diet-related disease are significant, far-reaching, and disproportionately affect historically underserved communities. Yet, food insecurity and diet-related diseases are largely preventable if we prioritize the nation’s health.
The Biden-Harris administration envisions an America where no one wonders if they will have enough money to put food on the table, where choosing healthy food is the easier choice, and where everyone has an equal opportunity to be physically active. Transformative programs, policies, and systemic changes within and outside of government are needed to achieve this vision. There is no silver bullet to address these complex issues, and there is no overnight solution. Making progress requires collective, sustained action and mobilization across every segment of society. That’s why President Biden announced a goal to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so that fewer Americans suffer from diet-related diseases— while reducing associated health disparities.
To achieve the President’s goal—and building on the federal government’s existing work to address hunger and diet-related diseases—this strategy identifies ambitious and achievable actions that the Biden-Harris administration will pursue in five pillars:
- Improving food access and affordability, including by increasing economic security; increasing access to free and wholesome school meals; making summer electronic transfer (EBT) benefits available to more children; and expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility to more underserved populations;
- Integrating nutrition and health, including by working with Congress to pilot coverage of medically personalized meals in Medicare; testing Medicaid coverage of nutrition education and other nutrition support using Medicaid section 1115 demonstration projects; and expanding Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries’ access to nutrition and obesity counseling;
- Empowering all consumers to make and access healthy choices, including by proposing the development of a front-of-pack labeling scheme for food packages; proposing to update the nutritional criteria for a “healthy” claim on food packaging; expanding SNAP fruit and vegetable incentives; facilitating the reduction of sodium in the food supply by issuing longer-term, voluntary sodium targets for industry; and evaluating additional steps to reduce added sugar consumption, including potential voluntary targets;
- Promoting physical activity for all, including by expanding the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program to all states and territories; investing in efforts to connect people to parks and other outdoor spaces; and funding regular updates and promotion of Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans; and
- Improving nutrition and food security research, including by increasing funding to improve indicators, data collection and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly on issues of equity and access; and implementing a vision for advancing nutrition science.
The federal government cannot alone end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases. The private sector; state, tribal, local and territorial governments; academia; and non-profit and community groups must also act. This strategy describes detailed calls to action for all these entities to fulfill their role. Taken together, these collective efforts will make a difference and bring us closer to achieving the 2030 goal.
To read the full national strategy, click here.